tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera July 4, 2015 3:30am-4:01am EDT
the gaza strip after the zoo they were living in were damaged. in friday they got stuck in no man's land as they waited for permission to cross into israel and now waiting in a hotel. more on our website at aljazeera.com. i'm mary snow in for ali velshi. "on target", immigrants with guns and badges, noncitizens protecting the public on the path to their american dream plus, lost in mexico, children born in the u.s.a. fight to survive miles away from their american dream it's 4th of july weekend and it's been a busy summer for america. the u.s. supreme court upheld
the rites of americans to get subsidised health care. gay americans have the right to marry in all 50 state, what is unsettled is how to treat people who come here against the law. between 11 and 12 million undocumented immigrants live in the u.s. more than half are mexican. >> trump's rocks helped to bring the issue back to the front burner of sol politics. despite miles of fencing between u.s. and mexico, many make the journey. many work in jobs without formal registration, meaning mostly farming and construction. in nevada immigrants make up 10%
of the workforce. in texas and california, they make up 9%. many of these people want to become citizens. that goes through the battlefield. since 2001, more than 102,000 have become americans by joining the military. more than 25,000 non-americans are serving in the u.s. armed forces. many are diploid. the military mean the men and women and offering them the fast-track to becoming citizens. >> who is an american is playing out in police departments across the nation. cities are struggling to build forces that are racially diverse. that pushed some departments to open up jobs to anyone with a green card. the next time you are pulled over, the person writing you a fact may not be born in america
or be a u.s. citizen. meet officer winn, a 16 year department. >> when i was 10 years old, my family in vietnam paid a sum of money to fishermen to smuggle me out. when i escaped i ended up in a refugee camp in the philippines. when i was 21 years old, 10 years after living in this country, i was given a job as a oakland. >> the officer is emblematic of what most say is needed to create a police force. cops that accurately reflect the community they police. >> it's important for the community in oakland to have vietnamese officers. >> 17% of the population is asian. the police force and 12% asian. that's up from a department that is 9% asian in 2000.
>> we know based on the tenants of policing that it's important for police departments to represent the ethnic make-ups of their communities. as they create criticism for failing to diversify ranks, many department are looking to hire more immigrants. california, for example, allows municipalities to hire police officers who are noncitizens with green cards. >> no one is precluded from applying, we encourage people with immigrant status to apply. it gives us a breadth of experience. other big city police officers we researched requires new officers to be full citizens, including new york city, houston, miami and seattle. ali is the director of the national immigration forum, advocating for citizens rights, pointing out that
there's 29,000 citizens. none are eligible to service police departments. immigrants can go to afghanistan and protect the united states of merv overseas. in far too many cities they kont come back to their own communities and serve and protect their neighbours. there's something out of whack way. >> some critics at the center for immigration studies says there's a danger to hiring citizens from other countries to be police officers here in the u.s. >> you were creating a precedent. sending a message that belonging to the community is not something required if you are going to be a badge-wearing representative of community. >> reporter: assistant chief
figerro believes many have as much right. >> the logic to me says if i had no commitment to this country, or thinking about going back home, why would i put a uniform on and give my life for people that live here, only to be not committed to something. the loomingic in me doesn't follow for me. >> reporter: and for this officer, hiring a citizen cop may be the key to bringing police closer to the communities they serve. >> there's a barrier between the police and community. trying to get a reflection of the community is a positive thing to do. allow both parties to open up and build a dialogue with each other and improve hegsship with the community. >> as the cops struggle, they
on this 4 july weekend we take a look at what it means to be an american. at the center of that conversation are the millions of noncitizens living in the u.s. many, if not most, are looking to grab a little piece of what they consider the american dream. some are willing to work as plufrs in the -- police officers in the toughest inner city neighbourhoods.
on the face it it it looks like a win/win. police departments can hire from the immigrant pool and serve immigrant communities better. by becoming cops, immigrants can gind a path to a middle path america. as we saw, there's a catch. most big city police departments don't allow noncitizens to be cops. mark is director of the center for immigration studies, a think tank advocating admitting fewer immigrants. his organization has a big problem with noncitizens becoming police officers. thank you for joining us. in doing the story we spoke to many who say what is needed to create a police officers is to hire officers representing communities that they serve.
is that your philosophy. >> i don't run a police department. it seems plausible. we are not talking about undocumented immigrants, no one is proposing illegal aliens be permitted, and no one is debating that people born abroad shouldn't be allowed to be police. the only issue is whether someone who has a green card, but hasn't become a citizen should be allowed to be a police officer. seems we should travel the path the military use, that as a green card holder that you enlist in the military, only on a continue that you become a citizen, that you are in the pipeline. so it's a matter of hiring you a few months before you take the oath of citizenship. >> what about a work permit. you say you are in agreement
that if you have a green card you'll be okay to work in a press department, is that right? >> as a professional first step. if you were applying to become a citizen, if you hadn't finished it, you would be fine to enlisted as a police officer, you have a long training and probation to go through. and you should be expected to become a citizen. it's easy to become a citizen, and someone that has a green card but hasn't lived here for five years probably doesn't be a citizen. if you live here long enough to be a citizen, you have your paperwork in. someone that is not taking those steps to become a citizen, no, should not be representative of
the government allowed to arrest or, if necessary. kill americans in order to enforce the law. >> before we get to that, i want to go back to something you said. is it easy to become a citizen, and look at the reform legislation that has been deadlocked in congress. >> none of which has anything to do with the person who has a green card. i have taught citizenship classes, it's hard for them to be a citizen, it's hard for them to read, you have to read a little bit. anyone that has a level of education sufficient to undergo the training a police officer has to undergo. for that person, with that level of lit ratty, becoming a citizen is like falling off a
log. it is not difficult. >> i talk to immigration lawyers that may take issue. what if someone has a work perform it. if you made their security checks more difficult when they joined the police department. wouldn't that sur face. >> under no circumstances. a person with a work permit, or an illegal immigrant, whose case is proceeding before the courts, and you give him a work permit. the only people who should be allowed to wear a badge and arrest citizens and shoot them if necessary, should be people, nelo citizens, or people who an
are coup of sustains away from becoming americans. if they haven't finished the pepper work or the fbi -- paper work or the fbi has their fingers in the paperwork. you can be in the military if you are a u.s. citizen, all are citizens within a few months, you are not allowedto reenlisted if you are not a citizen. that makes sense for police departments trying to diversify and add officers to the staff that represent the community they are having to police. >> it makes sense. the idea that someone not on a path to citizenship, should be allowed to represent the state.
>> thank you for inviting them. in a heated debate in the united states. thank you coming up next, a generation of kids lost in mexico. american children, u.s. children living undocumented in a warless region, it's a dangerous hear. driving around makes it nerve suss. it has one of the highest murder rates in the country.
relying on the working they do. president obama wants to focus depore takes efforts on felons, nom families, the fact remains 2 million immigrants have been deported. among the people heading back to mexico are thousands of children of immigrants, born in america. in other words u.s. citizens. many of the kids are lost in mexico, living without paper or skills. some face life in unfamiliar and dangerous territory controlled by dough cartels. -- drug cartels. david has this report. [ ♪ ] >> reporter: a friendly neighbourhood soccer match is a welcome distraction for these kids. many are undocumented, struggle with the language and are displaced due to poverty and violence. it's a sad, though familiar story. there's something different about the children.
some are african-american. those, like 14-year-old salvador was born in the u.s. - a small town north of san francisco. today he is living here. the violence and at times lawless mexican state. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: considered the birthplace of mexico's drug lords. his parents, like millions of others, escaped the region by trekking across the desert and into the u.s., where they lived for nearly 15 years, giving birth to salvador and his two sisters. the threat of deportation and a downturn in the u.s. any forced his parents to return to mexico. >> i was having trouble finding work, and with three kids to
support, i decided to go back. >> reporter: rather than break up the family, the kids wept with the persons, travelling south, over the border to a country they had never seep. they had no immigration papers or passports. they are undocumented americans lying in mexico. >> to cross the land border from the u.s. you don't nee a passport. at a basic level many are not documented as u.s. citizens. nearly half a million american-born children are growing up and going to school in mexico. and with u.s. deportations on rise, that number is expected to increase. having nearly doubled, this community is not large, it's vulnerable.
they are not easy to find, something a state department is trying to address, by working with ngos to identify these kids and sending buses it pick them up so they can get prosed, and chose like salvador, scattered across areas where they batting with the mexican army. >> we decided to see for ourselves what el salvador is dealing with, and travelled west to his home. a violence racked city, a strong hold of the notorious knights of templar car tell. this is situated between mexico city and the coast, and you get the drugs funnelling up into the south of the united states. it's a dangerous, dangerous area. driving around this area makes
you nervous. kidnappings is rife and has one of the highest murder rates. we called ahead and spoke to someone that let everyone know that we are coming. hopefully we make it though the region without issues. that is something that salvador has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. it's something he never had to think about in california. >> problems came early, he arrived at the age of nine, spoke broken english and had trouble in school. >> that was the most difficult part of my life. >> reporter: higher than average school drop-out rates make them prone to join organised crime, known to recruit children as soldiers and mules to shepherd packages across the border.
>> reporter: since 200636 hunt children have been arrested in operations. two of salvador's friends from not lucky. they gipped the knights of templar, only to be killed during a police. >> why do you think they joined? >> you see this place. i think they joined because of the money. this place doesn't have much money. they want to succeed in thi place. salvador's father earns $10 a day. a job with cartels can be lucrative. students pass through check points. some run by the military, some by vigilantes, and some by
cartels, it's not easy to tell who is who. those that run the cartels ten to switch sides. >> you can see in the dance they are checking a truck coming across. they are checking for arms and drugs, and take security seriously. you can see the sandbags are stacked up. my man has his guns at the ready, and this is an area of control run by a militia backed by the government. you see the line or the insignia on that. that is the rural police force and has the backing of mexico city. across the border, that's the demarcation line, an area they don't control. >> beyond the line and up in the mountains new cartels and vigilante groups are forming.
the violence followed. december 16th, tensions between two rival groups erupted in a gun battle captured on amateur video. one of the leaders in that battle was this man. who has organised militias in an effort to beat back the cartels. >> we had to defend ourselves. and the questions forces that we created were created to fight because we can't work with the cartels. they controlled everything. >> this was one of 11 people killed, dying at the hands of those loyal to a vigilante known assel americano. he earnt the nickname after spending several years living in the
united states. while it's not clear if the american came to mexico like el salvador, there's concern if the kids are not better integrated into the schools, they could add to the problem plaguing the region, as deportations rise, the ranks of america's lost generation are growing. >> david joins me now. david, who is working on any solutions to the problem. >> that is the difficult part. you have different n.g.o.s, this is dangerous. the drug infested areas of north and western mexico. they are no-go areas. in terms of tracking individuals and finding the kids, needles in hay stacks, it's hard to get good information. once you get them you get them to the u.s. embassy, processed, some can go back to the united
states, in an area where it's dominated by the drawing trade. that is the problem, it claimed over 100,000 lives. and you see half a million funnelling into a region where work. >> that's a growing problem. >> it seems to be. there's an increase, uptake since the court decision, pre-empting or starting the flow of deportations to mexico. you have parents travelling illegally, and the kids born in the u.s. and able to stay there, and they go back to mexico and don't speak spanish and have a large time dealing with the circumstances. as the policy in the united states tries to deal with the kids from a domestic standpoint, the problem is growing. >> that's our show for today. i'm
mary snow in for ali velshi, thank you for joining us. >> we've got the final agreement within our sites. >> many who think that the united states should not be sitting down with iran at all. >> there is possibilities of a conflict all around the region. >> on al jazeera america, >> technology...it's a vital part of who we are... >>they had some dynamic fire behavior... >> and what we do... don't try this at home! >> tech know, where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america